Snow Covers the Middle East

Snow falls across much of the Middle East  as worst blizzard in 60 years hits the region

  • Police block roads into and out of  ancient holy city
  • Snowstorm Alexa brings  Egypt’s main Mediterranean ports to a standstill
  • Temperatures plummet below freezing  across Syria, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon
  • Concern mounts for plight of two million  refugees fleeing Syrian civil war

By Tom Gardner

PUBLISHED:11:19 EST, 13  December 2013

Icy blast: The Western Wall compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel, today was covered with snow as temperatures plunge below zero

Icy blast: The Western Wall compound in the Old City of  Jerusalem, Israel, today was covered with snow as temperatures plunge below  zero

Frozen: Palestinian worshipers walk near the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem following a snowstormFrozen: Palestinian worshipers walk near the Dome of the  Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem following a  snowstorm

Festive: Jerusalem's Old City following a snowstorm, seen from the Mount of Olives, todayFestive: Jerusalem’s Old City following a snowstorm,  seen from the Mount of Olives, today

The blizzard, which has been named Alexa,  forced Jerusalem into lockdown today after more than 50cm of snow was dumped on  the region.

The unusual weather system brought travel  chaos and disruption to much of the region.

People had to abandon their cars and seek  emergency shelter as the snowstorm  brought transport to a standstill.

Police set up roadblocks on routes in and out  of the ancient city.

Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv was  shut  earlier this morning and Egypt’s main ports on the Mediterranean  and the Red  Sea remained closed for the third straight day due to bad  weather.

Israelis were told over media and  public  broadcasts today not to enter or leave Jerusalem and some 1,500  people were  evacuated from stranded vehicles overnight, said police  spokesman Micky  Rosenfeld.

Three  emergency centers were set up and  medics treated 350 people for cold-related  symptoms, Rosenfeld said.  Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he asked the military  for assistance.

Devotion: Amid the snow and icy temperatures, a Palestinian worshipper gets ready to pray in front of the Dome of the Rock in the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old CityDevotion: Amid the snow and icy temperatures, a  Palestinian worshipper gets ready to pray in front of the Dome of the Rock in  the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in  Jerusalem’s Old City

Snow fun: Young Palestinians throw snowballs at the Jaffa Gate at the Old City of Jerusalem, after the worst blizzards in 60 years swept across the region

Snow fun: Young Palestinians throw snowballs at the  Jaffa Gate at the Old City of Jerusalem, after the worst blizzards in 60 years  swept across the region

Cold blast: A Palestinian man rides his horse in the snow after heavy storms continued throughout Israel on Friday, causing traffic disruptions and power outages across the countryCold blast: A Palestinian man rides his horse in the  snow after heavy storms continued throughout Israel on Friday, causing traffic  disruptions and power outages across the country

Playtime: A Palestinian child plays in the snow brought by the unusually severe blizzard, dubbed AlexaPlaytime: A Palestinian child plays in the snow brought  by the unusually severe blizzard, dubbed Alexa

Rare snow also fell in Cairo’s suburbs, the  port city of Alexandria and a blanket of white covered St. Catherine’s Monastery  on Mt. Sinai.

The cold weather was part of a storm,  dubbed  Alexa, which has been pounding much of Lebanon and parts of  northern Syria  since Wednesday, pushing temperatures below zero and  dumping snow and heavy  rains.

The snow has heaped another layer of misery  on the already grim existence  of many of the more than two million Syrians who  have fled the civil war raging in their homeland.

Snow in the Egyptian town of Madinaty, 40 kms east of Cairo, today
Snow in the Egyptian town of Madinaty, 40 kms east of Cairo, today

Shock: Stunned Egyptians woke up this morning to find  snow on the streets for the first time in more than a century these pictures  show Madinaty, 40kms east of Cairo

Chaotic: Vehicles are seen stranded in snow in Jerusalem after transport links ground to a halt due to heavy snow

Chaotic: Vehicles are seen stranded in snow in Jerusalem  after transport links ground

to a halt due to heavy snow

Worship: An Ultra-Orthodox Jew prays at the the snow-covered compound of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem todayWorship: An Ultra-Orthodox Jew prays at the the  snow-covered compound of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem  today

TWENTY inches of snow brings the Holy Land to a  standstill

The weather even featured in talks between  visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin  Netanyahu, who said he was briefed on the emergency measures.

Kerry, a former Massachusetts senator, said  the snow made him feel ‘at home’.

‘I have heard of making guests welcome  and  feeling at home. This is about as far as I’ve ever seen anything  go… giving  me a New England snowstorm,’ Kerry said as he viewed a  snow-covered Old City of  Jerusalem with Netanyahu.

israel weather

 

Cold comfort: A woman swims in the pool at the David Citadel Hotel during a snow storm in Jerusalem todayCold comfort: A woman swims in the pool at the David  Citadel Hotel during a snow storm in Jerusalem today

Beast of burden: Ice covered stray donkeys stand outside in cold weather in Karlik village of Karacadag region located in Siverek district of Turkey's Sanliurfa province in Southeastern Anatolia region

Beast of burden: Ice covered stray donkeys stand outside  in cold weather in Karlik village of Karacadag region located in Siverek  district of Turkey’s Sanliurfa province in Southeastern Anatolia  region

In the West Bank and Gaza, U.N. relief teams  offered emergency services to the worst-hit communities.

In Gaza, which was experiencing its first  snow in a decade, more than 500 people were evacuated from their homes,  according to Hamas spokesman Ihab Ghussein.

Egypt’s state MENA news agency said the  country’s two Mediterranean ports near the city of Alexandria and two ports on  the Red Sea remained closed for the third day Friday.

The report quoted the head of the Alexandria  port authority, Adel Yassin Hammad, as saying the decision was taken to avoid  possible accidents in the ports.

Egyptian young people build what could quite possibly be their first ever snowman in CairoEgyptian young people build what could quite possibly be  their first ever snowman in Cairo

Worship: The severe snowstorm did not prevent the most devout from praying outside the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of JerusalemWorship: The severe snowstorm did not prevent the most  devout from praying outside the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound  in the Old City of Jerusalem

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2523259/Historic-snow-fall-turns-Holy-Land-scenes-Christmas-cards.html#ixzz2nW7eLHO0 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Those ice caps are gonna melt any day now.  🙂

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s